Getting baby to learn how to sleep is a common problem faced by many new parents. If baby can’t sleep well, you and your partner also will have a hard time getting enough quality sleep too. I am sharing an article about baby sleeping advice, to help the new parents understand and learn strategies to promote healthy sleep habits in babies and young child.
And with every sleep expert offering slightly different advice on the ideal timing and method for sleep training you may be unsure about who to believe, how to proceed, or which sleep training method you should follow.
In this article, you will find 6 strategies with proven studies that able to help you with baby sleeping problem. I am not a sleep expert, but i am sharing the useful information which i learned and experienced which may be helpful to you too.
Baby Sleeping Advice
#1 – Identify your baby sleeping cues
Babies , like the rest of us, will have a sleep window of opportunity, a period of time when they are tired, but not too tired.
If you miss out this period before you have a chance to tuck your baby into bed, it will be much more difficult for you to get him to go to sleep. So how can you tell if your baby is sleepy? Babies can’t tell you what they want but they will show you some signs that they are sleepy. Here are some sleep cues that your baby is ready to start winding down for a nap or for bedtime:
- Your baby is less active – this is the most obvious cue that your baby is tired and you need to act accordingly.
- Your baby may be less tuned-in to his surroundings – his eyes may be less focused and his eyelids may be drooping.
- Your baby may be quieter – as he starts to get sleepy
- Your baby may nurse more slowly – instead of sucking away vigorously, your baby will tend to nurse more slowly as he gets sleepy. Do not surprise if he falls asleep in the middle of feeding time.
- Your baby may start yawning and rubbing his eyes – if your baby does this, well, he is definitely tired and ready to sleep.
If you miss his initial sleep cues and start to notice signs of overtiredness – for instance, fussiness, irritability, and eye-rubbing, simply note how long your baby was up this time around and then plan to initiate the wind-down routine about 20 minutes earlier the next time he wakes up.
Here’s something else you need to know about babies’ sleep cues:
Babies tend to go through an extra-fussy period when they reach the six-week mark. The amount of crying that babies do in a day tends to increase noticeably when babies are around six weeks of age. It’s just a temporary stage that babies go through.
Here is the signs of overtiredness, your child is likely to behave in one or more of the following ways (results may vary, each baby is different in personality):
• Your child will get a sudden burst of energy at the very time when you think she should be running on empty.
• You’ll start seeing hyperactive behavior, even if such behavior is totally out of character for your child at other times of the day.
• Your toddler or preschooler will become uncooperative or argumentative.
• Your child will be whiny or clingy or she’ll just generally fall apart because she simply can’t cope with the lack of sleep any longer.
You will probably find that your child has his or her own unique response to being overtired. Some children start to look pale. Some young babies start rooting around for a breast and will latch on to anything within rooting distance, including your face or your arm! If he is well fed and clean, but he’s just whining about everything and wants to be held all day, he’s overtired and needs help to get to sleep.
Learning to read your baby’s own unique sleep cues is the first step to a more rested and happier baby.
#2 – Teach Your Baby to Distinguish between Night and Day
By exposing your baby to daylight shortly after he wakes up in the morning and keeping his environment brightly lit during his waking hours, you will help his circadian rhythm to cue him to feel sleepy at the right times.
Moreover, he’ll start to relate darkness with sleep time and bright light with wake-up time – take advantage of sunlight instead of indoor lighting, it works better with sunlight.
Studies have shown that exposing your baby to daylight between noon and 4:00 P.M. will increase the odds of your baby getting a good night’s sleep.
#3 – Let Your Baby Practise Self-soothing
Some sleep experts recommend that you put your baby to bed in a sleepy-but-awake state whenever possible from the newborn stage onwards so that he can practice some self-soothing behaviors.
Others say that you should give your baby at least one opportunity to try to fall asleep on his own each day.
Lastly, some others say that there’s no point even bothering to work on these skills until your baby reaches that three-to-four month mark (when your baby’s sleep-wake rhythm begins to mature so that some sleep learning can begin to take place).
Sleep experts claim that the sleep-association clock starts ticking at around six weeks. They claim that this is the point at which your baby begins to really tune into his environment as he’s falling asleep.
So if he gets used to falling asleep in your arms while your rock him and sing to him, he will want you to rock him and sing to him when he wakes up in the middle of the night – that’s the only way he knows on how to fall asleep.
This is because he has developed a sleep association that involves you. He needs you to help him fall asleep.
Some parents decide that it makes sense to take a middle-of-the-road approach to sleep associations during the early weeks and months of their baby’s life – they decide to make getting sleep the priority for themselves and their babies and to take advantage of any opportunities to start helping their babies to develop healthy sleep habits.
Here are some common examples of your baby is depending on sleep associations approach by showing some behavior to help him to fall asleep.
- Falling asleep during bottle-feeding
- Being rocked to sleep, especially in a baby swing bed
- Being nursed to sleep (very common for breastfed babies)
- Having you rub or pat his back or sing a lullaby
- Having you in the room, or hold your hand until your baby falls asleep
- Relying on a pacifier
- Falling asleep in a car seat or while riding in a car
You can reduce the strength of any particular sleep association by making sure it is only present some of the time when your baby is falling asleep.
If, for example, you nurse your baby to sleep some of the time, rock your baby to sleep some of the time, and try to put your baby to bed just some of the time when he’s sleep but awake, he’ll have a hard time getting hooked on any sleep association.
Sleep experts stress that the feeding-sleep association tends to be particularly powerful, so if you can encourage your baby to fall asleep without always needing to be fed to sleep, your baby will have an easier time learning how to soothe himself to sleep when he gets a little older.
Most babies are ready to start practicing these skills around the three- to the four-month mark.
#4 – Make Daytime Nap a Priority: Children Who Nap Sleep Better
Scientific research has shown that babies who nap during the day sleep better and longer at nighttime. While you might think that skipping babies’ daytime naps might make it easier to get them off to bed at evening, babies typically end up being so overtired that they have a very difficult time settling down at bedtime and they don’t sleep particularly well at night.
And rather than sleeping in so that they can catch up on the sleep they didn’t get the day before, they tend to start the next day too early and they have a difficult time settling down for their naps, as well.
Therefore, it is important to make your child’s daytime sleep a priority, your child needs quality sleep during the day in addition to his main nighttime sleep.
In addition, children who nap are generally in a better mood and have an improved attention span as compared to their age-mates who don’t nap.
#5 – Know When Your Baby No Longer Needs to Be Fed At Night
Your baby may continue to wake up in the night out of habit even when he’s outgrown the need for a middle-of-the-night feeding.
If your baby is going without that nighttime feeding some of the time or doesn’t seem particularly interested in nursing once he gets up in the night, it might be time to eliminate that nighttime feeding and use non-food methods to soothe him back to sleep.
Eventually, of course, you’ll want to encourage him to assume responsibility for soothing himself to sleep, but the first hurdle is to work on breaking that powerful food-sleep association.
With some children, it happens quickly. With other children, it’s a much slower process.
Once you break that association, he may stop waking as often in the night and may be ready to start working on acquiring some self-soothing skills.
#6 – Remain as Calm and Relaxed as Possible about the Sleep Issue
If you are frustrated and angry when you deal with your child in the night, your child will inevitably pick up your vibes, even if you’re trying hard to hide your feelings.
Accepting the fact that some babies take a little longer to learn the sleep ropes and feeling confident that you can solve your child’s sleep problems will make it easier to cope with the middle-of-the-night sleep interruptions.
Scientific studies have shown that parents who have realistic expectations about parenthood and who feel confident in their own abilities to handle parenting difficulties find it easier to handle sleep challenges.
As a new parents, help your child to fall asleep by his own takes some times. Be patience and do not rush it, your child will eventually pick up the skills and fall asleep on his own sooner or later.
Share your experience with us about your baby’s sleep problem and how do you help your child to break the powerful food- sleep associations especially you are nursing your child to sleep.
We love to hear from you.
Read more: “When do babies start sleeping through the night?“, “Co Sleeping Studies“